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GCC Summit: Saudi Arabia and allies to restore full ties with Qatar, says foreign minister

Reuters, AFP/Riyadh
Filed on January 5, 2021

(Spa)

Saudi Arabia and its three Arab allies agreed to restore full ties with Doha at a summit in the Kingdom on Tuesday, the Saudi foreign minister said.

Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told a news conference after the gathering of Gulf Arab states, also attended by Egypt, that there was political will and good faith to guarantee implementation of the agreement to restore diplomatic and other ties, including resumption of flights.

Saudi Arabia led a coalition of countries in the Gulf and beyond that cut ties and transport links with Qatar in June 2017, charging that it was too close to Iran and backed radical groups — allegations Doha has always denied.

“What happened today is... the turning of the page on all points of difference and a full return of diplomatic relations,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told a press conference at the conclusion of a landmark regional summit in Saudi Arabia.

Leaders of the six-member GCC signed two documents on Tuesday, the Al Ula Declaration, named after the Saudi city where this year’s regional summit was held, and a final communique.

Three GCC members — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — took part in the three and a half year blockade, alongside Egypt.

Qatar is also a GCC member state, along with Kuwait and Oman, which remained neutral in the rift.

The documents are general in terms, but Crown Prince Mohammed said earlier that the Gulf states had inked an agreement that affirms “our Gulf, Arab and Islamic solidarity and stability”.

He called for unity to confront challenges facing the region, singling out “the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme and its plans for sabotage and destruction as well as the terrorist and sectarian activities adopted by Iran and its proxies to destabilize the security and stability in the region."

“These actions put us in a position to call the international community to work seriously in order to stop these programs and projects that threaten regional and international peace and security.”

Saudi Crown Prince meets Qatar Emir

The Saudi crown prince met Qatar emir on Tuesday and reviewed bilateral ties the two “brotherly” countries and ways of enforcing joint Gulf action, the Saudi state news agency reported.

The meeting comes after a summit in Saudi Arabia where an agreement to solve the Gulf dispute that started in 2017 was signed.





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